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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Life + Arts

Culinary star takes world by storm

Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay is quickly becoming a household name.

The owner of 20 dining establishments across the globe, author of more than 15 cookbooks and winner of 13 Michelin stars, Ramsay is literally setting the culinary universe on fire with intricate dishes, using the best ingredients the world has to offer.

Oh, and he’s also on TV.

After first appearing in a British documentary in 1998, Ramsay has become a television staple across the pond, hosting three different shows: Hell’s Kitchen, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, and The F Word.

The first two have been brought over for the American audience, where they can witness Ramsay constantly yelling, screaming and most notably cursing at aspiring chefs and restaurateurs who can’t get their act together. Unfortunately, this is the image of Ramsay in the U.S.

However, if you ever catch Ramsay on one of his programs on BBC America or the Internet, you’ll notice that he’s a considerably nicer and funnier guy. It’s this personality that has made him such a success on TV and one Americans see much less than the British.

This side of Ramsay is most apparent in Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, not to be confused with FOX’s amped-up version, Kitchen Nightmares.

Both versions have Ramsay helping out restaurants with a variety of issues, from poor management to unqualified and unmotivated chefs. The British version has Ramsay helping restaurants in a personal and sometimes affectionate manner, whereas FOX seems to highlight Ramsay’s verbal spats and moments of anger more than his assistance.

FOX also seems to go for shock value with kitchens that could make a health inspector hurl and camera cuts and zoom-ins on Ramsay and the restaurant staff.

This is compelling to a point, but halfway through the show, it begins to wear on the viewer.

The show’s narrator doesn’t help either. The narrator’s voice seems more appropriate for another edition of When Animals Attack.

Curiously, the British version has a much more leisurely pace. Occasionally, there’s music with Ramsay himself doing voiceovers. It’s a bit of a change to hear him in a relaxed tone.

Despite all the yelling, screaming and cursing, audiences also see Ramsay laughing and joking with the people he’s helping. In general, Ramsay’s much more enjoyable to watch.

Ramsay does a variety of things on his food magazine program, The F Word. His exploits range from traveling around the world for exotic ingredients such as caviar and king crab to learning to make the Chinese delicacy Dim Sum.

Celebrities often appear, prompting mini-interviews, occasional cooking segments and cooking competitions.

Ramsay takes on celebrities at their favorite dishes, with often-hilarious results. Michael ‘Meatloaf’ Aday nearly beat Ramsay with a tuna casserole made with an assortment of frozen veggies, canned soup and potato chips.

While Ramsay’s crude language and short temper stem from his time in the kitchen, his charm and personality are definitely more appealing to audiences. FOX took one aspect of Ramsay’s personality and made that its selling point, but Ramsay’s British shows say more about this brilliant chef .

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